WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has stated that agriculture is a rapidly growing and complex industry;AND WHEREAS increasingly complex technological advances are forcing producers to gather specialized information to make timely production decisions (e.g. ILO’s and EFP’s);AND WHEREAS weather and insect infestations are becoming more prominent and having an increasingly detrimental effect on our agriculture production;AND WHEREAS the importance of and need for Provincial Agricultural Specialists and support staff is increasing rather than decreasing;AND WHEREAS the Government of Alberta continues to decrease the presence of Agriculture Specialists and support staff within Alberta by closing offices and reducing employees;AND WHEREAS the reduction of provincial employees in agriculture may lead to further downloading of responsibilities to rural municipalities’ agricultural employees with respect to agricultural programs, administration and specialized information;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to consult and work with rural municipalities and agricultural producers in an attempt to maintain the existing number of Agricultural Specialists and support staff throughout rural Alberta, thus helping to keep this industry viable, healthy and strong today and in the future.
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development recently announced a decision to close district offices in Sangudo and Innisfail, reducing support staff and therefore removing the presence of District Specialists in parts of rural Alberta. No consultation was made between Alberta Agriculture, local producers and the municipalities to provide a workable solution to closing offices and decreasing services.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.The AAMDC did contact AAFRD earlier this year to relay member concerns regarding the possible closure of various Alberta Agriculture district offices. At that time, the AAMDC received assurances that the department did not intend to reduce the level of expertise available to local producers, but was simply working to reduce costs by reducing the amount of “bricks and mortar” owned or leased by the department.